Thousands took to the streets of Cardiff on Saturday for the “first ever” Welsh independence march.
Welsh banners were carried through the centre of the city, before the crowd was addressed by several public figures including actor Carys Eleri, Ben Gwalchmai from Labour for an Independent Wales, and Siôn Jobbins from YesCymru.
The story of Welsh independence rarely reaches the level of public demonstrations – this weekend’s march was the first of its kind. The crowd size beat initial expectations, with thousands taking to the streets.
For those pushing for it, the case for Welsh independence is clear. Though Welsh devolution first occured at the end of the 20th century, giving more power to Wales over the running of the its own country, key areas, such as many tax varying powers, are still kept firmly within Westminster.
A recent poll for ITV Wales showed that 12% of people support self-government, as well as an increasing amount of people wanting more powers to be given to the Welsh assembly.
The march was organised by All Under One Banner (AUOB) Cymru, an independence pressure group. Ahead of the march, representatives from the group said they hoped the event would “get more people talking about independence”.
Adam Price, leader of Plaid Cymru, Wales’ largest party publicly advocating independence, said in a tweet ahead of the march that the country’s “brightest possible future is as an independent nation at the heart of Europe.”
Ben Gwalchmai, from Labour for an independent Wales, was keen to contradict claims that independence would increase discrimination against immigrants to Wales: “Wherever you come from, If you’re here, you’re Welsh, and we want you,” he told the audience at the closing of the march.
One Cardiff resident and Plaid Cymru supporter Colin Williams said: “Government’s only back down when you stand up for yourself, and we stood up for ourselves yesterday.”
“With any luck, the people who have seen the march on social media will make sure that they join us next time.”